Coliseum turns into Rangers Home Run Alley, A’s lose regular season home finale 8-3

By Morris Phillips

OAKLAND — All the sections that don’t normally fill up during A’s games got populated on Sunday.

By A’s fans and Rangers’ home run balls.

For Oakland, that’s only half the battle as the A’s failed to climb closer to a postseason berth and home field advantage in AL Wild Card game. For Tanner Roark, it was a failed audition for a postseason rotation spot with plenty of openings for consistent performers that keep the ball within the park.

And for the Rangers, it was about time, after five consecutive, lopsided losses to the A’s and 13 losses to Oakland in the first 18 meetings of 2019. Moreover, the Rangers were tired of dropping road games. Texas finished the season 33-48 on the road for the second, straight season, and that’s just not good enough, not for a team that was in playoff contention through the season’s first 120 games.

“We’re disappointed that No. 81 didn’t mean something for the postseason,” Elvis Andrus said.  “We did not play well on the road this year. It something we have to improve.”

The Rangers avoided an eighth, consecutive loss and a winless road trip in an emphatic manner with leadoff man Shin-Soo Choo sending the first pitch of the ballgame deep into the centerfield bleachers, estimated at 461 feet from the plate. Willie Calhoun and Andrus also went deep in the Rangers’ four-run, first inning, and those homers weren’t cheap either.

Roark would allow a second homer to Calhoun, and five earned runs in three innings before he was lifted. The veteran acquired from the Reds hadn’t lost at the Coliseum since being acquired in July. That winning streak ended with a thud, but the impression’s been made, Roark will be in consideration for a start at home in Game 3 or 4 of an ALDS if the A’s get that far.

“Like we’ve done all year since I’ve been here, you move on. Nobody dwells on anything. You just get better,” Roark opined.

The A’s were 10-1 in their previous 11 games coming in, making their two-game lead over Tampa Bay seem insurmountable, which it isn’t. The Rays also lost on Sunday, but Cleveland won Sunday night to pull into a dead heat with the Rays. The A’s are wholly focused on not only qualifying for the postseason but hosting the Wild Card game, which didn’t go their way last year in the Bronx against the Yankees.

With a week to go, the A’s would wish for one more thing. That the Rays and Indians finish in a dead heat, forcing them to play each other 24 hours prior to the winner traveling to Oakland. But with a week, and six games remaining, we digress.

The A’s rotation for the final week remains a mystery with Frankie Montas eligible to return from his 80-game suspension on Wednesday. Homer Bailey will start Tuesday in Anaheim, but little is set beyond that with the A’s wanting line up one of their starters–likely Mike Fiers or Sean Manaea for Tuesday’s Wild Card playoff.

If the chosen starter can’t cut it, the A’s have a deep bullpen with additions A.J. Puk, Jesus Luzardo and Chris Bassitt ready to take prominent roles.

The A’s drew 38,453 fans to the home finale, and saw their home season attendance improve better than 80,000 fans over what they drew in 2018. The A’s finished with a 52-29 record at the Coliseum.

A’s crush the Astros 21-7 on Tuesday night

9-10 c
Graphic: @NBCSCA

By Charlie O Mallonee @Charlieo1320

This morning on my Oakland A’s podcast with Lee Leonard, I told our listeners not to panic about the A’s 15-0 loss to the Astros on Monday night. Baseball is a funny game and sometimes a game will just get away from a team. Just as frequently, when a team scores a bundle of runs in a game – they will not be able to repeat that feat in the next game no matter how hard they try. It’s just a “baseball thing”.

The A’s turned the table on Tuesday

Oakland showed up on Tuesday night ready to play and scored seven – that’s right seven – runs in the top of the first inning before the Astros ever had a chance to pick up a bat. The Houston starting pitcher – Wade Miley – was credited with working 0.1-innings while giving up seven runs (all earned) off seven hits. He walked one and struck out none. Miley entered the game with a record of 13-4 and an ERA of 3.74. His record is now 13-5.

It was like the A’s had all of this pent-up energy that just had to be released and they took it all out on the Astros on Tuesday night. The A’s scored two runs in the second inning, two in the third, six runs in the fourth, two more in the fifth, one in the sixth and tacked one more on in the top of the ninth inning for a total of 21.

Oakland won the game 21-7.

Tanner Roark picked up the win

Tanner Roark picked up his 10th victory of the season in this game. He worked 5.2-innings allowing five runs (all earned) off eight hits. He walked one and struck out three. He did give up three home runs. Roark threw 105 pitches (65 strikes).

Ryan Buchter faced one-hitter and Daniel Mengden worked 3.0-innings giving up two runs (both earned) on four hits. He walked two and struck out one. Mengden did allow one home run.

Focus on the A’s with the bat

  • Mark Canha: went 3-for-6 with three runs scored and one RBI.
  • Chad Pinder: also had a 3-for-6 game scoring one run and adding an RBI.
  • Khris Davis: joined the 3-for-6 club with two runs scored and three RBI. Davis hit his 20th HR in the game.
  • Sean Murphy: had a two-home run game. He went 3-for-5 at the plate with three runs scored and four RBI.
  • Matt Olson hit two home runs and now has 31 for the year.
  • Marcus Semien hit his 27th round-tripper of the season in this contest.
  • For the A’s, it was 21 runs off 25 hits and just eight men left on base.

Wild Card Race

Tampa Bay, Oakland, and Cleveland all were winners on Tuesday. The Rays stay in Wild Card Slot #1 with a 1.5-game lead over the A’s. The A’s own Wild Card Slot #2 with a 0.5-game lead over the Indians. The race is tight and very competitive.

After the Houston series, the A’s do have a game versus a team with a winning record.

Up Next

Game three of the four-game series will be played on Wednesday night at 5:10 PM PDT. LHP Brett Anderson (11-9, 4.08) will start for Oakland while RHP Jose Urquidy (1-1, 5.33) will take the mound for Houston.

A’s come up short on the South Side on Saturday night, lose to the Sox 3-2

Graphic/Photo: @Athletics

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics (66-51) lost to the Chicago White Sox (52-63) 3-2 on Saturday in Game two of their three-game series. The A’s were held scoreless until the top of the ninth inning when they scored to two runs on an unusual play.

With two out and Alex Colome on the mound for the Sox, Marcus Semien hit a single to left-center field. Chad Pinder then doubled to left field and Semien moved to third base. Matt Chapman hit a hot drive down the third baseline that Ryan Goins could not handle and it traveled into left field. Semien and Pinder were able to score easily while Chapman stopped at second base on what would be scored as a two-base error.

With the score 3-2 and the tying at second base, Khris Davis was the next batter for Oakland. Colome was able to strike Davis out to end the game and earn the win for the White Sox.

Focus on the A’s

  • Tanner Roark was tagged with the loss in his second start for the A’s. His record drops to 7-8 for the season. Roark worked 6.2 innings giving up three runs (two earned) off six hits. He walked none and struck out seven batters. Roark is 1-1 with the A’s with a 2.41 ERA in two starts.
  • The A’s are 4-1 versus the White Sox this season. Oakland has outscored Chicago 30-8.
  • The A’s have loved playing American League Central teams this season. They are 16-5 versus AL Central teams this year.
  • Mark Canha has hit safely in each of his last 11 games versus the White Sox.
  • Matt Chapman is batting .400 (10-for-25) against the Sox this season.
  • Stephen Piscotty has gone 8-for-25 (.320) with two homers and five RBI over seven games since coming off the injured list on August 3rd.

Checking in on the Sox

  • The White Sox ended a four-game losing streak with their win over the A’s on Saturday.
  • This was the Sox first victory over the Athletics in more than a year.
  • Game-winning pitcher Reynaldo Lopez earned wins in consecutive starts for the first time since September 2018. He is now 7-9 for the season.
  • Tim Anderson extended his hitting streak to nine games.
  • Leury Garcia has reached base safely in a career-high 20 games.
  • Eloy Jimenez hit his 19th home run of the season off Roark in the fifth inning. It was a 410-foot blast right-center field.

Up Next

The A’s and White Sox will wrap up their three-game series on Sunday afternoon. Oakland will send RHP Chris Bassitt (7-5, 3.80 ERA) to the mound. He earned a no-decision in his last start against the Cubs when worked six innings giving up two runs (both earned) off eight hits. Bassitt will face Lucas Giolito (12-5, 3.44 ERA). Giolito was a winner in his last start versus the Tigers when he pitched six innings giving up three runs (two earned) off eight hits. He walked two and struck out eight batters.

First pitch is scheduled for 11:10 am PDT.

Stingy Athletics: A’s shut down Cardinals in series finale, 4-2

By Morris Phillips

OAKLAND — It just so happened that the 163rd start of Tanner Roark’s seven-year, major league career intersected with the 117th big league game appearance of Dustin Garneau’s in a way that neither could have anticipated a week ago.

But they were–pitcher and catcher–making it up as they went, the best way that they knew how–in Oakland of all places.

Except that it wasn’t always apparent they were good at making it up, or going about it the best way. Not against a focused St. Louis lineup, stealing bases, and intent on avoiding a sweep.

Roark needed 95 pitches to get through four innings, 35 of those to end the third scoreless when Marcell Ozuna struck out with the bases loaded.

“Just how we drew it up,” said Roark, tongue in cheek.

The Garneau/Roark act, a trade deadline concoction, if there ever was one, surely had the Coliseum crowd fidgeting. But it was a veteran production, and it was effective. Roark departed after five frames, allowing four hits, in possession of a newly cemented 2-1 lead.

“He didn’t want any part of coming out of that game after four,” said manager Bob Melvin of Roark, who threw 109 pitches and got the win. “He felt great. If I’d have run him out there for the sixth, he’d have been all for it. He was throwing to corners still. Every pitch mattered to him.”

Filled with guts and gile (Melvin called Roark “a bulldog”), the outing was taking advantage of the trade deadline, at its best–a contending club getting an injection of energy at the season’s critical point. For five innings the A’s were in the hands of a pair of capable veterans enthusiastic about winning after spending the beginning of their seasons without winning, or in Garneau’s case, without a regular role.

That the two knew little of each other mattered little. They made it work.

“It’s a dance, pretty much,” said Garneau, picked up off waivers from the Angels as a stopgap until the A’s catching corps regains its health. “The more you can get on tempo, you just kind of let him lead.”

Offensively, the A’s were pesky, getting veteran starter Adam Wainwright off his game to the tune of three drawn walks and two hit batsmen. Those two–Stephen Piscotty and Mark Canha–came around to score the A’s first runs in the fourth, on Garneau’s two-out double.

That was one of only two hard hit balls Wainwright allowed. The other–Jurickson Profar’s home run in the sixth–made it 3-1 A’s and abruptly ended Wainwright’s afternoon.

“That was the key to the game right there,” Wainwright said of Profar’s homer and the two pitches that hit Piscotty and Canha. “I have to execute better pitches there.”

The A’s swept the season series with St. Louis 4-0 with the win, and the Cardinals were knocked out of first place in the NL Central as a result. The A’s kept pace with the Rays who swept Miami, and within striking distance of the Indians, who swept the Angels.

Only the Red Sox were made to suffer in the AL Wild Card chase this weekend. Boston was swept at Yankee Stadium, leaving them 6 1/2 games behind Cleveland, and their postseason aspirations on life support.

The A’s start their week in Chicago with the Cubs on Monday, then after an off day Thursday, take on the White Sox over the weekend. The A’s have won six of seven, but they’ll be pushed on the road trip with top starters Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester and Lucas Giolito scheduled to face them.

A’s 9th-inning comeback ends up one run short; Nats win series final 11-10

By Charlie O. Mallonee

MLB: Washington Nationals at Oakland Athletics
Sonny Gray did not earn his third win of the year on Sunday versus the Nationals Photo Neville E Guard USA Today Sports

“That’s American League baseball. A lead is never safe because they’re used to coming back and having big innings because the offensive clubs hit the ball out of the ballpark. We didn’t walk guys to get to that situation, they hit us,” opined Nationals manager Dusty Baker after the game.

I have the greatest of respect for Dusty Baker who I have covered as a manager since he was the skipper of the San Francisco Giants, but I have to disagree with him on his analysis of the game in Oakland on Sunday.

What the Nationals saw as they escaped with an 11-10 win in the third and final game of this interleague series match up was not American League baseball, it was Oakland Athletics’ baseball at home on Rickey Henderson Field. This 2017 A’s team loves to play at home in Oakland. At home they are tenacious, fierce and tough to beat which is why they are 16-12 in Oakland (on the road they are a different team, 8-20).

The second thing that Dusty Baker saw was a Nationals team that is now 35-20 on the season that had an 11-4 lead going into the bottom of the ninth inning against the last place team in the American League West lose its focus as they were looking ahead to a series with the Dodgers that begins in L.A. on Monday. Not to take anything away from the A’s, but that comeback should have never happened.

This was really a tale of two different games:

The Pitching Duel

Both starting pitchers were strong in this game. Which may surprise you when you look at the score.

Sonny Gray worked seven strong innings. He finished giving up three runs (all earned) on four hits. He walked three while striking out six National hitters. Gray threw 103 pitches (63 strikes). Sonny Gray wound up with a no-decision despite the fact that he pitched well enough to get a win.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Oakland Athletics
Tanner Roark recorded his sixth win of the year against the A’s on Sunday Photo Neville E Guard USA Today Sports

Washington starter Tanner Roark looked like he might wind up with a “CG” (complete game) with the way he was pitching. Roark was strong through seven innings but ran into trouble in the eighth. He finished going 7.2 innings giving up 4 runs (all earned) on five hits. He walked just one and struck out four A’s. Roark also pitched well enough to win but his bullpen really let him down, but he still wound up with his sixth win of the season.

Sonny Gray left the game with score tied 3-3 after seven complete innings.

Tanner Roark exited the game with two out in the bottom of the eighth with a 6-4 lead.

The relief pitching was a little scary

The A’s brought in Ryan Madson for the top of the eighth inning. Madson gave up three runs on just two hits including a three-run home run to Ryan Zimmerman (16). After the Zimmerman round-tripper, Madson induced Daniel Murphy to ground out. He was then replaced by Frankie Montas who caused Anthony Rendon to pop out to end the inning. Madson would take the loss in the game.

The 100+ mph throwing Montas came back for the ninth inning and got shelled by the Nats. Montas gave up five runs (all earned) on five hits including back-to-back home runs to Matt Wieters and Michael Taylor. Josh Smith had to be brought in to close out the ninth for Montas.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Oakland Athletics
Shawn Kelley picked up his fourth save of 2017 on Sunday in the win over the A’s Photo Neville E Guard USA Today Sports

Koda Glover who was able to get Tanner Roark out of a jam in the bottom of the eighth inning returned in the bottom of the ninth. Glover gave up five runs (all earned) on four hits. Shawn Kelley was brought to replace Glover and he gave up a grand slam home run to Matt Joyce while also earning his fourth save of the season.

Yes, it was a weird game.

Stars on offense

Both teams had stars on offense. The A’s scored 10 runs on 10 hits while leaving two runners on base. The Nationals scored 11 runs on 11 hits leaving four runners on base. There were a total of five home runs hit in the game. There were also three doubles and one triple hit in the contest.

The Nationals were led on offense by designated hitter Ryan Zimmerman who went 3-for-5 on Sunday with three RBI and scoring two runs to go with his 16th home run of the season.

Washington shortstop Trea Turner had a 2-for-4 day with two runs scored and two RBI. Turner hit his third triple of the year off Sonny Gray.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Oakland Athletics
Nationals catcher Matt Wieters hit a home run on Sunday Photo Neville E Guard USA Today Sports

Catcher Matt Wieters went 2-for-3 scoring two runs and posting two RBI. Wieters hit his fifth homer of the year off Montas in the ninth inning.

The Nats number nine hitter – Michael Taylor – had a day every number nine batter would like to have any day. Taylor recorded a 2-for-4 day with two runs scored and one RBI. Taylor also hit his sixth home run of the season off Montas in the ninth inning of the game.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Oakland Athletics
Khris Davis hit his 17th home run of the season on Sunday Photo Neville E Guard USA Today Sports

The Athletics Khris Davis had a day he would have liked to have had on Saturday – his bobblehead day. Davis went 3-for-4 scoring three runs with two RBI that included his 17th home run of the year and his sixth double.

Outfielder Matt Joyce posted four RBI and scored two runs while going 2-for-4 against the Nationals on Sunday. Joyce hit his seventh home run of the season in the A’s six-run ninth inning.

Up next

The A’s have three more games at home this week with the Toronto Blue Jays. The series begins on Monday night. The Blue Jays will send J.A. Happ to the hill in the first game of the series. He is 0-3 on the year with 4.50 ERA. The A’s will counter with lefty Sean Manaea who is 4-3 with a 3.91 ERA. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.